Readfield Union Meeting House has received a $10,000 gift to help restore its painted ceiling and complete Phase I of the conservation work this spring, according to a news release from the Meeting House’s Board.

The donation was made by Linda Bean, and her sister Diana Bean.

Like the painted murals on the walls of the sanctuary, the ceiling was highly decorated by the artist, Charles Schumacher, of Portland, from 1866 to 1868. Over the years, vibration and other factors have caused portions of the plaster ceiling to crack and come loose from the laths that support it.

A grant of $17,250, from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission in Augusta, will help pay for a good portion of the $40,350 restoration work being undertaken by conservator Tony Castro, of New Gloucester, according to the release.

Bean is well known, especially in the Hallowell-Augusta area, for her long-standing interest of and support for historical preservation causes. The gift made by the Bean sisters was in memory of the late Mildred Cole Peladeau, wife of the Meeting House’s current historian and former president, Marius B. Pelandeau.

The Meeting House Board has committed itself to matching this federal grant by raising $17,250 from its own sources to complete paying for this Phase I. Fundraising activities have already been started and hopefully all the money will be in hand by the time warm weather arrives and Castro can return to complete the first half of the ceiling this spring in time for the sanctuary to be free of his scaffolding before summer activities begin at the Meeting House, according to the release.

If further fundraising is successful this summer, the Board plans to retain Castro to undertake the restoration of the other half of the ceiling, also to cost $35,000, in the fall. The Board will attempt to tap other grant sources and also attempt to raise additional dollars in the central Maine area for what is being called Phase II.


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